The Way To Play!

Photo: Andrew Gorosko

Children and their parents explored the many features of the town’s new FunSpace II playground at Dickinson Park on Saturday, July 26, following playground dedication ceremonies there.

About 250 people turned out on the morning of Saturday, July 26, at Dickinson Park off Elm Drive for the dedication ceremonies of FunSpace II, the town’s elaborate new playground that replaces the FunSpace playground there, which was demolished last year.

Although the new playground was dedicated on July 26, the facility was not completely built, with some construction remaining to be done, so the playground has not yet opened to the public.

Parks and Recreation officials said this week they expect FunSpace II to open to the public, weather permitting, sometime during the week of August 4. The opening date for the playground will be announced. Dickinson Park itself is open for public use.

At the dedication, Amy Mangold, director of Parks and Recreation, said, “FunSpace II is a unique playscape… dedicated to the children of Newtown.”

The FunSpace II playground is an important project for the town, she said.

Ms Mangold thanked the many elected and appointed officials, as well as the many volunteers who worked to get the facility built.

“It will be just an amazing space… It’s about the children… This is a unique playground,” she said.

Getting the facility built was a complicated project, she added.

Initially, the project’s design exceeded the town’s funds for the work, after which some private fundraising occurred, she said.

The gifts of donors, when combined with the public funds, resulted in the town being able to construct the complete version of the playground envisioned. The project cost approximately $800,000.

“Hundreds of people helped with this project,” she said.

“This playground is for you children… Please come and play a lot,” Ms Mangold said.

First Selectman Pat Llodra noted that she started visiting Dickinson Park 44 years ago.

“We have fabulous parks,” she said.

The first selectman termed Dickinson Park “a place for the community to come together for family fun.”

Following the remarks at the dedication, a ceremonial ribbon at the playground entrance was cut and the many children present enthusiastically tried out the new playground gear.

Resident and landscape architect Billie Cohen designed the playground. Pat Corsetti, Inc, of Mamaroneck, N.Y., constructed the playground.

The playground covers about 1.5 acres. It has natural elements, climbing stones, stationary musical instruments, and a zip line, among many other features. It is handicapped accessible.

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